Guidelines for Programs Involving Youth

All programs involving minors at Indiana State University are subject to Policy 901 Programs Involving Minors. In addition, ISU has provided the following Procedures for Programs Involving Minors.  All University-sponsored programs involving minors are required to comply with these procedures and Policy 901.  Externally sponsored programs involving minors that are held in ISU facilities are subject to Policy 901 and Procedures for Programs Involving Minors, as well. 

Exclusions

The Programs Involving Minors Policy does not apply to the following activities:

  • Public Events (e.g., basketball or football games, concerts, theater productions)
  • Minors who are enrolled as students of the University
  • Minors on campus as part of a group, one-time day visit supervised by an organization (e.g., field trips for the purpose of attending a performance or a campus tour).
  • Minors who are accompanied by their parent/legal guardian.
  • Off-campus programs not administered or supervised by ISU that may utilize ISU faculty, students or staff in any capacity (e.g. off-campus service-learning, internships, student organization volunteer activities).

Whether an activity is covered by one or more of the exclusions listed above or not, anyone who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect has an affirmative duty to make an oral report to Child Protective Services (1-800-800-5556) or to local law enforcement, including the ISU Police Department (812-237-5555).

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks and sex offender registry checks are required for all University personnel, including volunteers, staff, and faculty, that are associated with University-sponsored programs that include minors. Criminal background checks and sex offender registry checks are required for staff with both direct and indirect responsibility for the supervision of minors.

All University personnel covered by the Policy for Programs Involving Minors must complete a criminal background check and sex offender registry check every four years. Initial background checks are normally completed as part of the hiring process. Criminal background checks are completed by the Office of Human Resources. Human Resources pays for criminal background checks of new non-exempt and exempt staff and faculty.  The employer (department) is responsible for the cost of criminal background checks for student employees and volunteers.

Staff members and volunteers with a criminal conviction of sexually based offenses or crimes against children are prohibited from participation in programs that involve minors. Staff members and volunteers with a criminal conviction of a Level 1, 2, or 3 felony in the past 10 years also are prohibited from participation. If a criminal background check includes other felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions involving violence or crimes against children, or Class A, B, or C felony convictions older than 10 years, the program will consult with the Office of Human Resources to determine if those offenses should preclude participation.

Student Conduct Check

All students, including student employees, who work with minors must have a student conduct check. Students in poor conduct standing due to violations of ISU Policy 922 Sexual Misconduct or ISU Student Code of Conduct Policy 3.1 Misconduct Against Persons, as well as other conduct violations involving violence or misconduct involving minors, are prohibited from participating in programs involving minors.

In the case that a student has been found in violation of ISU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy or relevant portions of the Student Code of Conduct, Student Employment Programs will notify the hiring department following the student conduct check that the student is ineligible for employment.

Selection and Screening of University Employees and Volunteers

Departments must develop an appropriate selection and screening program for staff and volunteers that work with minors.  This process must include the following:

  1. Written position description. All University personnel that work with minors must have a written job description that includes expectations for working with minors, minimum qualifications, and screening requirements.
  2. Written application. The University applications used by Human Resources and Student Employment are sufficient. All paid staff must complete one of these on-line applications.  Written applications also must be used for volunteers. Click here for a sample volunteer application. The written application must include references, work/volunteer history, and a release to check references.
  3. Reference check. Once the written application is received, the department/program must conduct reference checks. Ideally, references should include both professional and personal references.  Students, in particular, may not have sufficient work history to have a professional reference.  In this case, personal references are sufficient. Former teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and pastors are examples of personal references that are appropriate for student volunteers.
  4. Personal interview. The interview should be used to explore why the individual wants to work with minors, discuss previous experience, and explain policies and procedures regarding work with minors.
  5. Criminal background check. The criminal background check is completed once a decision to offer employment or a volunteer opportunity has been made.

Departments must maintain documentation of the selection and screening process for a period of two years from the end of the program for one-time or short term programs or two years from the separation of the employee from the University for on-going programs.

Selection and Screening of University Employees and Volunteers

Departments must develop an appropriate selection and screening program for staff and volunteers that work with minors.  This process must include the following:

  1. Written position description. All University personnel that work with minors must have a written job description that includes expectations for working with minors, minimum qualifications, and screening requirements.
  2. Written application. The University applications used by Human Resources and Student Employment are sufficient. All paid staff must complete one of these on-line applications.  Written applications also must be used for volunteers. Click here a sample volunteer form. The written application must include references, work/volunteer history, and a release to check references.
  3. Reference check. Once the written application is received, the department/program must conduct reference checks. Ideally, references should include both professional and personal references.  Students, in particular, may not have sufficient work history to have a professional reference.  In this case, personal references are sufficient. Former teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and pastors are examples of personal references that are appropriate for student volunteers.
  4. Personal interview. The interview should be used to explore why the individual wants to work with minors, discuss previous experience, and explain policies and procedures regarding work with minors.
  5. Criminal background check. The criminal background check is completed once a decision to offer employment or a volunteer opportunity has been made.

Departments must maintain documentation of the selection and screening process for a period of two years from the end of the program for one-time or short term programs or two years from the separation of the employee from the University for on-going programs.

Training Requirements

ISU employees, student employees and volunteers that are covered by this policy must complete required training prior to beginning work with minor children. The mandatory training program, Protection Children: Identifying and Reporting Sexual Misconduct and Protecting Children: Shine a Light, are available to employees and student employees through the MyISU portal through Sycamore eLearning: United Educators.  Volunteers that are non ISU employees or student employees, are provided access to the training courses by contacting Joyln Osborne in the ISU Office of Risk Management. ISU employees, student employees and volunteers must complete the entire training, print the certificate of completion, and provide a copy to their supervisors. Completed training is valid for a period of two years.  After that time, the training program must be completed again.

Departments and programs may require additional training.

Facilities Scheduling for Programs That Involve Minors

The following scheduling procedures must be followed by any department/program in the University that is planning a program involving minors. Programs involving minors that are subject to these guidelines include the following types of programs and activities.

  • One-Time or Special Events 

    • On-campus and off-campus, University-sponsored programs
    • On-campus, externally-sponsored programs
  • On-Going or continuously-operating programs

The following sections provide specific procedures for scheduling each category of program.

Procedures for One-Time and Special Events, Camps, and Workshops

The procedures in this section apply to programs and events that are not part of the on-going work of a department or organization.  Events in this category include special, one-time events and regularly occurring annual or semester events.

Procedures for On-Campus and Off-Campus University-Sponsored Programs and Events

  1.  All groups must complete the Registration for University Events Involving Minors form located on the Conference and Event Services website.  The authorization form must be completed for every program regardless of program location.
  2. All completed registration forms must be signed by the event organizer, unit/ department head, and facility manager (if on-campus program) then submitted to Conference and Event Services.
  3. The completed registration form must include the names, employee/student ID numbers, and E-mail addresses of all adult employees and volunteers that will interact with minors as part of the program or activity. Employees/volunteers who have not had a criminal history check through Indiana State University in the past four years must submit a Criminal Background Check consent. The sponsoring organization is responsible for the cost of the background checks. Criminal history checks and sex offender registry checks are completed by ISU Human Resources.  Upon completion of the criminal history check, Human Resources will return a roster of cleared and disqualified staff/volunteers to Conference and Event Services and the sponsoring department. Under no circumstances can volunteers or employees have contact with minors prior to completion of the Criminal Background Check and required training.
  4. The sponsoring organization is responsible for maintaining records for a period of two years indicating that each volunteer and employee has read the minor policy and received appropriate training.
  5. The sponsoring organization is responsible for collecting and maintaining for two years written agreements for participation from parents or guardians of all minors participating in programs covered by the minor policy.

Procedures for On-Campus Programs and Events Sponsored by External Organizations

Any external individual or group interested in scheduling University facilities for a program or event must complete a Facilities Use Agreement with one of the following ISU offices:

  • Intercollegiate Athletics provides Facilities Use Agreements for the following athletic facilities: Memorial Stadium, Bob Warn Field, Gibson Track and Field, Athletic Indoor Facility, Indoor Track and Field Facility and ISU Arena – South Gym.
  • Sycamore Outdoor Center for use of the Sycamore Outdoor Center.
  • Conference and Event Services manages Facilities Use Agreements for all other University facilities including Hulman Center, Tilson Auditorium, University Hall Theater, Sycamore Banquet Center, HMSU, Magna Carta Room, McKee Family Heritage Lounge, Heritage Ballroom and all classrooms and academic spaces. 

Facility managers and schedulers who are not associated with one of these offices are not authorized to independently schedule external users in University facilities. Conference and Event Services staff will coordinate with facility managers/schedulers to assure that external use of facilities does not conflict with on-going academic or extracurricular activities. 

External users of University facilities are required to certify that they are in compliance with the ISU Minor Policy.

Procedures for Employees and Volunteers with On-Going or Continually Operating University Programs

Some departments and programs work with minors as a routine part of their on-going activities. An example of this type of program is the Community School of the Arts. 

On an annual basis, Directors of these programs will submit the Registration for University Events Involving Minors to Conference and Event Services.  For each program, a description of activities involving minors and a list of current staff, including student employees and volunteers, must be provided.  The list must include E-mail addresses and University ID numbers.  Human Resources will verify a current criminal background check for each staff member or volunteer. Employees/volunteers who have not had a criminal background check in the past four years must submit a paper copy of the Criminal Background Check consent. 

As new staff are hired, full and part-time exempt and non-exempt administrative staff and faculty will receive a criminal background check at the time of hire as a routine part of the hiring process. As departments hire new student workers, criminal background checks must be required at the time of hiring. If a student employee is required to work with minors, that information must be included in the position description. Student employees in such positions cannot start their jobs until the criminal background check is completed.

Volunteers with on-going University programs must be screened prior to beginning their volunteer work with the program. Prior to having contact with minors all new staff and volunteers must undergo appropriate training and certify that they have read and agree to abide by the University’s minor policy.

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

Both Indiana law and the Indiana State University policy for Programs Involving Minors require that any person who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect has an affirmative duty to make an oral report to Child Protective Services (1-800-800-5556) or local law enforcement, including the ISU Police Department.  The ISU policy for Programs Involving Minors requires that faculty, staff, students volunteers, and other University personnel report any suspected abuse of minors to the ISU Police Department.  The ISU Police Department will report suspected abuse to Child Protective Services.

In addition to reporting suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or Child Protective Services, all University employees and volunteers and required to report suspected cases of sexual harassment or sexual abuse of a minor during a University program to the Equal Opportunity and Title IX OfficeReporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect.

Prevention Strategies

Establishing clear expectations regarding behavior of staff and volunteers is key to protecting minors involved in our programs.  The following guidelines will help staff and volunteers from getting into situations that put the staff member, volunteer or minor at risk.

  • Parental Consent and Communication – Express written consent from a parent or guardian is required for participation in the University programs described in these procedures.  Parents/guardians must be provided accurate and complete information about the nature of the program and participant rules and regulations.
  • Arrival and Departure of Minor Participants – Minor participants can be released for departure to a custodial parent/legal guardian. Release of a minor participant to a non-parent/guardian requires prior written parental/guardian consent.  Parental consent is also required in the case that a minor is responsible for their own departure from a program.
  • Electronic Communications – Staff and volunteers must not communicate with minor program participants via E-mail, text messages, social networking sites, or other methods unless there is a clear educational purpose and the communication is program related. Staff or volunteers should not have direct electronic contact with minors without another adult included in the communication. Staff who regularly use social networking sites to communicate with constituents should consider establishing separate professional and personal accounts.
  • Private Instruction/Tutoring – If staff or volunteers are providing one-on-one instruction, tutoring, or counseling, that activity must occur in a classroom, office, or lab with a window opening in the door or in an area that is observable by parents and/or other educators. Private instruction or tutoring should only occur at scheduled times during the office’s established working hours, which may vary from the University’s 8:00 a.m. –  4:30 p.m. workday and include evenings and weekends.  Private instruction and tutoring in private homes is prohibited. 
  • Personal Relationships with Minors – Except in cases where a relationship already existed outside of the University program (i.e. neighbors, relatives), staff and volunteers must not meet with minor participants outside of University-sponsored programs and activities.
  • Bathroom/Locker Room Use – If minor participants (i.e. young children) require monitoring in the bathroom or locker room, they must be monitored by an adult of the same gender.  Volunteers or staff must not enter private bathrooms alone with a minor. Two adults must be present if children are changing clothes or showering. Staff must never change clothes or shower in front of minors.
  • Transportation – Volunteers and staff must not transport minor participants in their personal vehicles before, during, or after scheduled programs.  Staff or volunteers are not allowed to be alone in a vehicle with a minor. Staff or volunteers are allowed to bring minors to campus to participate in programs if they have an existing relationship outside of the program with the minor.  For example, an employee would be allowed to transport his niece to a University-sponsored camp.
  • Bullying and Abusive Behavior – Staff and volunteers must not engage in abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a minor, including, but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking or restraining. 
  • Inappropriate Sexual Behavior – Staff and volunteers must not touch minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate.  Staff and volunteers must not make sexual materials in any form available to minors participation in programs or activities, or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use – Staff and volunteers must not use, possess or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while working a campus program for minors.
  • Program Marketing and Promotion – Description of University programs for minors that are used for marketing or otherwise distributed to the public must include an accurate description of activities and appropriate age and skill level.
  • Photographic Images – Minors must not be photographed or videoed by University personnel without the written permission of a parent or guardian. Any use of images that include minor children require a signed photo release.

Documentation Requirements

All departments and programs are responsible for maintaining appropriate documentation as outlined in this section. Documentation must be maintained for a period of two years.

Sponsoring Program/Department

  • Employment and volunteer applications and completed reference checks for all personnel working in programs involving minors
  • Certificate of completion of on-line training for every staff member and volunteer
  • Documentation of completed criminal background check
  • Completed facilities use agreement (if applicable)
  • Verification that staff and volunteers have read and agree to abide by these procedures and the Policy for Programs Involving Minors
  • Program description for each program involving minors and list of approved staff and volunteers
  • Written agreements for participation from parents or guardians of all minors participating in programs covered by the minor policy
  • Program descriptions and criminal background checks for personnel associated with off-campus events

Conference and Event Services         

  • Completed facilities use agreement